Essay: 2023 Open Philanthropy AI Worldviews Contest: Odds of Artificial General Intelligence by 2043

3/14/2023 2-minute read

Odds of Artificial General Intelligence by 2043

2023 Open Philanthropy AI Worldviews Contest


The arrival of artificial general intelligence (AGI) could transform society, commerce, and nations more than the technological revolutions of the past. Postulating when AGI arrives, what a world with AGI may look like, and the progress of AI en route to AGI is worthwhile. This Work adopts a broad-scoped view of current developments and opportunities in AI, and places it amidst societal and economic forces present today and expected in the near future. As the appearance and form of AGI is hard to predict, the basis to form the odds of AGI within 20 years is instead derived from its impact and outcomes. The qualifying outcomes of AGI for this Work include conducting most tasks cost-competitively to livable wages in developed nations, performing innovative and complex high-skill work such as scientific research, yielding a durable 6% Growth World Product growth rate, or inducing massive shifts in labor distribution on par with the Agricultural or Industrial revolutions. A survey is first taken on prior works evaluating recent technological developments and posing remaining capabilities necessary to achieve AGI. From these works comes a baseline odd of 24.8% for AGI by 2043, which is then balanced against arguments for or against these timelines based on what AI can do today, a representative array of tasks that AI cannot do but may qualify AGI if successful, as well as observations of phenomena not considered in the more technical prior works, namely those of labor, incentives, and state actors. Likely and impactful tailwinds to AGI timelines are developing new paradigms of AI, on par with reinforcement learning, capable of wholly distinct tasks from those done by AI today. Less likely but impactful tailwinds include the ability for AIs to physically manipulate a diversity of objects, and development of numerous new “narrow” AIs to collectively perform a diversity of tasks. Likely and impactful headwinds to AGI timelines are the continuation of outsourcing to abundant excess labor globally and the long economic growth trajectories of developing nations. Less likely but impactful headwinds include large economic recessions, globalized secular stagnation, and insufficient incentive to automate fading yet ubiquitous technologies and services. Applying subjective and weighted probabilities across a myriad of scenarios updates the baseline 24.8% odds to propose a low, median, and high odds of 6.98%, 13.86%, and 20.67% for AGI by 2043.

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Cross-posted at EA Forum